By Brian Indre
Outdoors enthusiasts in the DMV area often head west toward Shenandoah National Park for a quick escape from the city. Although now that wineries and breweries have become ubiquitous in Northern Virginia, people are also flocking to the countryside to enjoy a beverage and good food with picturesque views. Falls Church design and build firm GreenSpur, Inc. is looking to help them find the right spot.
The firm, which is located on Broad Street, built and designed a getaway on a 50-acre site that sits along the Appalachian Trail in Marshall, Virginia as part of its Lost Whiskey Club. It features a modern farmhouse and amenities to take in the surrounding landscape and showcase their whiskey.
The project took place during the pandemic and was completed last spring.
Mark Turner, the owner and founder of Greenspur, said that he and his team of architects and builders are especially inspired by place and experience.
“We’re always designing and thinking about where you have your dinner, your drinks, your coffee, so we wanted to commoditize the experience of gathering,” said Turner. “We are also bourbon fans, so to us it seemed congruent to use bourbon as the glue that connects people and conversations with outdoor space and great experience.”
He mentioned that the Greenspur team really loves a project that they can do all by themselves because it gives them all the control and room for creativity. That’s why they chose to build the project up on a mountain to give it an exclusive feel — Turner added that they only do private events and gatherings, with specific requests.
“It is not a walk in off the street club, it’s meant to be a private boutique exclusive experience and by invite only,” he said.
This isn’t an insignificant mountain out in the western part of Virginia either. Lost Whiskey Club looks out on Lost Mountain (where their name originates), which was once purchased by George Washington and was where he planned to retire before he became president.
Turner continued on saying that people often make the mistake thinking that whiskey came first from Kentucky, but the first whiskey actually came out of Virginia. That makes Lost Whiskey special and gives historical context to whiskey making in America.
Before he died, according to Turner, Washington was the largest whiskey maker in America. Making the club’s name and its signature beverage all the more appropriate.
The Lost Whiskey Club (the whiskey) was established in 2016. The distillery and bottling plant is located in Merrifield, and only open from 5 – 6 p.m. on Thursdays, where people are welcome to buy bottles and experience the bottling process, and become part of the club locally.
“‘Club’ is a loose term,’’ said Turner. “It’s more of a philosophy, so that if you purchase a bottle or experience the Lost Whiskey Club in any form or fashion, you are quasi part of the club.”
All of the whiskey the “club” makes comes in a 375 ml bottle, and every bottle is single barreled and can be identified by a unique leather strap with a story number on it, Turner explained.
He said the intent of adding those details is so that drinkers will remember when, where and who they enjoyed it with, and maybe have a good story tied to that experience.
Having an experience is essential to the bucolic hideaway. Turner said that even before the pandemic, he felt that there was a real heartstring on having an experience and great conversation.
“People are overwhelmed with data, too much media, and flat screen devices, which is why craft beer, craft food and experiences are so rich right now,” said Turner. “But when Covid hit, it put a 10x factor on that experience, and I think people now, more than ever, are craving good conversation, intimate settings, good food and good quality fireplaces.”
The site is meant as a retreat from the constant distractions that consume us in our everyday life. It is encouraged for guests to put away their phones and enjoy conversation and the outdoors.
Along with the farmhouse, there is a mobile whisky bar, and small cabins nestled into the landscape, each with its own unique design. Turner said that the project was really an exploration of their own ideas of architecture.
Turner said that the project was challenging to get all the equipment and supplies up the winding dirt road to the site that is surrounded by state parks on all four sides.
“It is a rural setting and a hard place to build with a lot of logistical obstacles along the way,” said Turner. “But it is really a special spot, and one of the projects that GreenSpur is most proud of.”
Any questions or inquries about visiting the site or booking a stay in the rental cabins can be arranged by reaching out to Lost Whiskey Club by email at [email protected]